We arrived at Blake’s parents house just before dark on Sunday evening, having taken twists and turns deep into Washington state to get there. We’d left Mount Shasta at sunup that morning having all of Oregon and most of Washington to drive through before the trip was finished. We also decided to stop at a few fun places along the way.
We stopped in the town of Weed in Northern California and Blake bought picked up funny gifts for her porn crew with the town name clearly emblazoned on them. We’d found the town on accident on our way to the the last Blockbuster Video on the planet, where we also stopped for the amusement of it. Our second day on the road was more whimsical than the first and as luck would have it, even prettier.
The mountains in Oregon were snowcapped even in the summer heat and the trees stretched skyward, covering the hills for as far as you could see. We passed through arid places where plants struggle to hold on in the dry, cracked earth and crossed bridges spanning beautiful rivers and and lakes as we climbed up and down the pacific north west. We stopped in weird little towns to let Bixby out or fill up the tank and we made getting there as much of a part of the journey as where we were going.
The dirt and gravel roads were just wide enough to slip the SUV through and a few low hanging branches scrapped the antenna on the roof as we crawled down the country road toward our destination. Blake’s mom didn’t know we were coming; we’d gotten the code from her step dad, who Blake made the arrangement for the surprise with.
Blake’s stepdad was on the mend from a bout of cancer serious enough that he and her mother had started putting all their affairs in order. Blake was due a visit but she doesn’t fly, so she asked me if I’d come to California and accompany her on the drive.
I’d never met Blake in person before the trip, though we talk or text nearly every day. We’d had plans to do things in the past that had just never panned out and it was only a matter of time before we met, but I hadn’t expected it to be on a road trip to meet (and stay with) her family. She doesn’t fly though and the drive is 20 hours, so we talked about it for a few days and then decided we we’re doing it; before I knew it, I was on a plane from one coast to the other.
She did all of the driving the day before and the second day it was my turn. I crossed over bridges and twisted through mountain roads for hours until we got to the secluded house that was deep in the woods. Blake hopped out and opened the metal gate and we crawled quietly up the rest of the drive to make the most of the surprise. I hung back when she went up the steps and her mother opened the door, elated to see her.
Her family was incredibly welcoming and they set Blake and I both up with guest rooms down the hall from each other, making sure I had an internet connection for work and taking no issue with the fact that what I do is porn. They knew that Blake works in the industry too and I feel maybe like it was comforting for them to meet someone (semi) normal who was in the same line of work.
During the day I sat outside on their deck, with views unlike any I’d ever seen, answering emails, handling invoices and editing content for the sites that I’m working on. In the afternoons we’d go for drives and visit the small towns around them, grabbing a bite or wandering through shops in quaint old fashioned downtown areas that felt a little lost in time with their vintage store fronts filled with modern offerings wedged between ice cream shops and pool halls. These were the kinds of places that you imagine when someone tells you they are going ‘into town’.
This was a departure from my life as of late and it was one that I needed more than I realized. In the span of less than a week, I travelled over 3,000 miles by plane, 1,200 miles by car, met Blake in person for the first time and was introduced to her family too. I met new people, experienced a different way of life than my own, visited states that I’d never been to and managed to walk away feeling clearer about the changes in my life I want to make now that I’m back home.
Five days before we’d never seen each other face to face, but it’s certain now that Blake is and will be a real part of my life.